Dick and Dollyñêà÷àòü êíèãó áåñïëàòíî
The days passed happily at Dana Dene.
There was so much to do, with the gardens and the chickens, and going for afternoon drives that, except on rainy days, the children were out of doors nearly all the time.
Their big boxes had arrived, and Dolly’s dolls, and Dick’s more boyish treasures, were up in the playroom, but were often neglected for open-air fun.
It had been decided by the aunties that the twins should not go to school until Fall, for the term was within a few weeks of closing, and it didn’t seem worth while to start. But they were required to practise on the piano an hour each day, and a teacher came once a week to give them lessons. The Misses Dana were fond of music, and as they thought the twins showed some talent, they insisted on its cultivation, though Dick and Dolly looked upon their practice hour as drudgery.
They always practised at the same time, if possible, in order to have their play hours together. If they had been practising duets, this plan might have been fairly agreeable to the other members of the household. But the nine-year-old twins had not yet arrived at the dignity of “pieces,” and were confined to scales and five-finger exercises.
Their scales usually started on harmonious notes, but Dolly’s little fingers flew along the keyboard so much faster than Dick’s that she usually finished her scale on the highest notes, and drummed away there until his chubby hands came up and caught her.
This, though a satisfactory plan to the performers, was far from pleasant to the sensitive ears of the Dana aunties.
Again, in case of five-finger exercises, they divided the piano fairly, and then diligently pursued their “one-and, two-and, three-and” quite irrespective of each other.
As they were careful not to infringe on one another’s territory, they saw no objection to this arrangement, and quite in despair, the aunts would close the doors of the drawing-room, where the musicians were, and retire to the farthest corners of the house.
There was, of course, great temptation for the twins to neglect their task, and chatter, but they were too conscientious for this.
Neither would have considered it honourable to remove their hands from the keys during practice hour. So the little fingers diligently worked up and down, but the counting often gave way to conversation. Instead of “one-and,” Dolly might say, in time with her counting, “Don’t you, – think the, – poles will, – come to-, – day, Dick?” And Dick would pound away, as he replied, “Yes, Pat, – said they, – sure would, – come to, – day-ay.”
Thus a staccato conversation could be kept up while the twenty stiff little fingers were acquiring proper limberness and skill.
“It’s enough to drive anybody frantic! I can’t stand it!” said Aunt Abbie, as one day she listened to the measured chatter, and its accompaniment of pounded keys that didn’t chord.
“I can’t either!” declared Aunt Rachel, “and I’ve made up my mind, Abbie, what to do.
We’ll get another piano, – a second-hand one will do, – and put it up in the playroom. Then they can practise separately.”
“Ye-es,” said Miss Abbie, doubtfully; “but they wouldn’t like that. They always want to be together.”
“Well, they’ll have to stand it. It’s enough to ruin their musical ear, to hear those discords themselves.”
“That’s true. I suppose your plan is a good one.”
So a second piano was bought, and put up in the playroom, and the twins had to do their practising separately, except for a few little duet exercises, which their teacher kindly gave them. And it must be confessed they made better progress than when they combined practising and social conversation.
In addition to the hour for music, Dolly was required to spend an hour every day, sewing.
The Misses Dana believed in that old-fashioned accomplishment, and put the child through a regular course of overhanding, felling, and hemming, insisting on great neatness and accuracy of stitches.
This hour caused Dolly a great many sighs, and even a few tears. She didn’t like needlework, and it was so hard to keep her stitches even and true.
But the real hardship was that Dick didn’t have to sew also. It didn’t seem fair that she should work so hard for an hour, while he was free to play or do what he chose.
She remarked this to Aunt Rachel, who saw the justice of the argument, and thought it over.
“That’s true, in a way,” she responded. “There isn’t any occupation so necessary for a boy to learn, as for a girl to learn sewing, but I think that Dick should have a corresponding task.”
So it was arranged that for an hour every day, Dick must do work in the garden. Real work, not just fun. He was to weed both his own and Dolly’s flower-beds, and mow the grass and trim the hedges in their playground, and water the plants, if necessary; in short, do the drudgery work of the garden, while Dolly plodded along at her sewing.
This plan worked finely, and sometimes Dick had the playground in such perfect order that he could put in his hour weeding or mowing the other parts of the lawn. Aunt Rachel bought a small lawn-mower for his use, and under Pat’s instructions his hour’s hard work each day taught him much of the real science of gardening.
When the twins had been at Dana Dene a week, they had as yet made no acquaintances beside Jack Fuller. This had happened only because the ladies had not found it convenient to take the children to call elsewhere, and Dick and Dolly themselves had been so wrapped up in their gardens and other joys that they had not cared for outside companionship.
Pat had sent for extra long poles, that their playhouse might be of goodly size. When these came, and were put in place, the tent-shaped arbour was about ten feet by twenty, which was amply large for their purpose. Vines were planted at once, both seeds and cuttings, but of course it would be several weeks before the leaves would form a green roof for them.
However, the sun was not unpleasantly warm in May, and by June or July the leafy roof would be a protection.
In the meantime, Aunt Abbie, who was most ingenious, planned a cosy arrangement for them. In one corner of their playground, Michael built them a table. This had a section of a felled tree trunk for an upright, on which was placed a round top.
From the centre of the table top rose a stout, straight stick, with leather loops nailed on it at intervals. Into these loops could be thrust the handle of a very large Japanese umbrella, which, opened, made a gay and festive-looking roof, and which could be taken into the house in case of rain.
Benches and rustic chairs Michael made for them, too, and Dick helped, being allowed to use his “work-hour” for this.
As the playground achieved all these comforts, it became a most delightful place, and the children spent whole days there.
Sometimes, good-natured Hannah would bring their dinner out there, and let them eat it under the gay umbrella.
Aunt Abbie gave them a fine garden swing, as she had promised.
This was one of those wooden affairs that will hold four comfortably, but except for Jack Fuller, none but the twins had yet used it.
Aunt Rachel’s gift proved to be a fountain.
This was quite elaborate, and had to be set up by workmen who came from town for the purpose. It was very beautiful, and added greatly to the effect of the playground. When the weather grew warmer they were to have goldfish in it, but at present there were aquatic plants and pretty shells and stones.
It was small wonder that the children didn’t feel need of other companionship, and had it not been for Jack Fuller, Dolly would never have thought of being lonely.
She and Dick were such good chums that their company was quite sufficient for each other; but when Jack came over to play, he and Dick were quite apt to play boyish games that Dolly didn’t care for.
On such occasions she usually brought out her doll-carriage and one or two of her favourite dolls, and played by herself.
And so, it happened, that one afternoon when Dick and Jack were playing leap-frog, Dolly wandered off to the wood with Arabella and Araminta in the perambulator. She never felt lonely in the wood, for there were always the squirrels and birds, and always a chance that she might see a fairy.
So, with her dolls, she had company enough, and sitting down by a big flat rock, she set out a table with acorn cups and leaves for plates, and tiny pebbles for cakes and fruit.
Arabella and Araminta had already been seated at the table, and Dolly was talking for them and for herself, as she arranged the feast.
“No, Arabella,” she said; “you can’t have any jelly pudding to-day, dear, for you are not very well. You must eat bread and milk, and here it is.”
She set an acorn cup in front of the doll, and then turned to prepare Araminta’s food, when she saw a little girl coming eagerly toward her.
It was a pretty little girl, about her own age, with dark curls, and a pink linen frock.
“Hello,” she said, softly, “I want to play with you.”
“Come on,” said Dolly, more than pleased to have company. “Sit right down at the table. There’s a place. I fixed it for Mr. Grey Squirrel, but he didn’t come.”
“I didn’t bring my doll,” said the little girl in pink, “I – I came away in a hurry.”
“I’ll lend you one of mine,” said Dolly. “They’re Arabella and Araminta; take your choice.”
“What’s your own name?” said the visitor, as she picked up Araminta.
“Dolly, – Dolly Dana. What’s yours?”
“I don’t want to tell you,” said the little girl, looking confused.
“Never mind,” said Dolly, sorry for her guest’s evident embarrassment, but thinking her a very strange person. “I’ll call you Pinkie, ’cause your dress is such a pretty pink.”
“All right,” said Pinkie, evidently much relieved.
“You’re not – you’re not a fairy, are you?” said Dolly, hopefully, yet sure she wasn’t one.
“Oh, no,” said Pinkie, laughing. “I’m just a little girl, but I – I ran away, and so I don’t want to tell you my name.”
“Oh, I don’t care,” said Dolly, who was always willing to accept a situation. “Never mind about that. Let’s play house.”
“Yes; let’s. You keep this place, ’cause you’ve fixed your table so nice, and I’ll live over here.”
Pinkie selected another choice spot for her home, and soon the two families were on visiting terms.
Dolly and her daughter, Arabella, went to call on Pinkie and her daughter, Araminta, and as they had already selected the names of Mrs. Vandeleur and Mrs. Constantine, their own names didn’t matter anyway.
Dolly was Mrs. Vandeleur, because she thought that title had a very grand sound, and Pinkie chose Mrs. Constantine because she had just come to that name in her “Outlines of the World’s History,” and thought it was beautiful.
So Mrs. Vandeleur rang the bell at Mrs. Constantine’s mansion, and sent in two green leaves, which were supposed to be the visiting cards of herself and her daughter.
“Come in, come in,” said Mrs. Constantine, in a high-pitched voice. “I’m so glad to see you. Won’t you sit down?”
Dolly sat down very elegantly on the root of a tree, and propped Arabella against another.
“I’m just going to have supper,” said the hostess, “and I hope you and your daughter will give me the pleasure of your company.”
“Thank you. I will stay, but I must go ’way right after dessert. I have an engagement with – with the fairies.”
“Oh, how lovely! Are you going to see them dance?”
“Yes,” said Dolly, greatly pleased to learn that Pinkie believed in fairies; “they sent me a special invitation.”
“I’ll go with you,” said Mrs. Constantine, promptly. “I’m always invited to their dances.”
So again the acorn cups and leaves came into use, and the four drank unlimited cups of tea, and ate all sorts of things, Arabella having apparently recovered from her indisposition.
“Now, we’ll go to the fairies’ ball,” said Pinkie, as with a sweep of her hand she cleared the table of dishes and viands and all. “What shall we wear?”
“I’ll wear red velvet,” said Dolly, whose tastes were gay, “and a wide light-blue sash, and gold slippers.”
“You’ll look lovely,” declared Mrs. Constantine. “I’ll wear spangled blue satin, and a diamond crown.”
“Then I’ll have a diamond crown, too,” said Dolly.
“No; you have a ruby one. We don’t want to be just alike.”
“Yes, I’ll have a ruby one, and my daughter can have a diamond one, and your daughter a ruby one, – then we’ll be fair all around.”
“Yes, that’s fair,” agreed Pinkie; “now let’s start.”
They carried the dolls with them, and going a little farther into the wood, they selected a smooth, mossy place where fairies might easily dance if they chose.
“We must fix it up for them,” said Pinkie; “so they’ll want to come.”
Eagerly the two girls went to work. They picked up any bits of stick or stone that disfigured the moss, and then, at Pinkie’s direction, they made a circular border of green leaves, and what few wild flowers they could find.
A row of stones was laid as an outside border, and a branch of green was stuck upright in the centre.
“Now it looks pretty,” said Pinkie, with a nod of satisfaction. “Let’s sit down and wait.”
“Will they really come?” asked Dolly, as with Araminta and Arabella they seated themselves near by.
“Oh, no, I s’pose not,” said Pinkie, with a little sigh. “I’ve done this thing so many times, and they never have come. But it’s fun to do it, and then I always think perhaps they may.”
But they waited what seemed a long time, and as no fairies came to dance, and the shadows began to grow deeper, Dolly said she must go home.
“Yes, I must too,” said Pinkie, looking troubled.
“See here, Dolly,” she said, as they walked along; “don’t you want to come here and play with me again?”
“’Course I do,” exclaimed Dolly. “Every day.”
“Well, you can’t do it, unless you keep it secret. You mustn’t tell anybody, – not anybody in the world.”
“Not even Dick and the aunties?”
“No, not anybody. If you tell, we can’t play here.”
“Pinkie, are you a fairy, after all?” said Dolly, looking at her earnestly.
She was quite unable, otherwise, to think of any reason to keep their acquaintance secret.
“Well – maybe I am,” said Pinkie, slowly.
“And that’s why you haven’t any name!” exclaimed Dolly, rapturously. “But I didn’t s’pose real fairies were so big, and so ’zactly like little girls.”
“Real fairies aren’t. I’m just a – just a sort of a fairy. Oh, Dolly, don’t ask questions. Only, remember, if you tell anybody about me, we can’t play here in the woods any more. Will you promise?”
“Yes, I’ll promise,” said Dolly, solemnly, awed by Pinkie’s great earnestness.
And then they separated, and Dolly ran home with her dolls.
Dolly was very quiet after she reached home. She was greatly puzzled at the events of the afternoon.
“Of course,” she thought, “Pinkie couldn’t be a fairy. She is just as much a live little girl as I am. And yet, why should any nice little girl, – and she surely is a very nice little girl, – want our acquaintance kept secret?”
Dolly remembered a little girl in Chicago, who loved to have “secrets,” but they were very simple affairs, usually a new slate pencil, or a coming birthday party. She had never heard of such a foolish secret as not telling your name!
And so, the thought would come back; what if Pinkie should be a real fairy? To be sure, she had always thought fairies were tiny folk, but she had never seen one, so how could she know?
And Pinkie was so well versed in making a fairies’ dancing ground, and she appeared so mysteriously, – apparently from nowhere at all! Oh, if it should be! And then, that would explain the secret part of it, – for fairies always want to be kept secret. But on the other hand, that pink kilted dress of starched linen! Fairies always wore gauzy robes, and carried wands, and had wings. Well, yes, that was the popular notion, but who had seen them, to know for sure?
These thoughts chased through Dolly’s mind as she sat at the supper table, and Aunt Rachel soon noticed the child’s absorption.
“What’s the matter, dearie?” she asked; “aren’t you well?”
“Oh, yes, Auntie; I – I was just thinking.”
“I know what’s the matter with Dollums,” said Dick, a little shamefacedly. “It’s ’cause Jack Fuller and I played leap-frog and things she didn’t like, and so she went off by herself, and was lonesome. I’m sorry, Dolly.”
“Why, Dick Dana!” exclaimed his twin; “it wasn’t that a bit! I’m glad you had fun with Jack, and I didn’t care a spick-speck! I had a lovely time myself.”
“Where were you, dear?” asked Aunt Abbie.
“In the wood, with my two big dolls,” said Dolly, truthfully, but she had a strange feeling of dishonesty.
She had never had a secret before; had never told anything except the whole truth; and the part truth, as she had told it now, troubled her conscience.
Yet she had promised Pinkie not to tell about her, so whether Pinkie was fairy or little girl, Dolly felt herself bound by her promise.
“Auntie,” she said, after a pause, “are there really fairies?”
“No, child, of course not. You know there aren’t.”
“Yes, I s’pose so. But if there were any, how big would they be?”
“Don’t ask silly questions, Dolly. There are no such beings as fairies.”
“Oh, I don’t know, Aunt Rachel,” put in Dick. “You know, just because we’ve never seen any, – that doesn’t prove there aren’t any.”
“But how big would they be, Dick?” persisted Dolly.
“Oh, little bits of things. A dozen of them could dance on a toad-stool, I expect.”
That settled it in Dolly’s mind. Of course Pinkie wasn’t a fairy then, for what Dick said was always so.
But Aunt Abbie changed the situation. She had more imagination than Aunt Rachel, and she idly fell into the discussion.
“I’m not sure of that, Dick,” she said. “I always imagine fairies to be about our own size. You know Cinderella’s fairy godmother was a grown-up lady.”
“Oh,” said Dolly, her eyes shining with interest. “Then do you think, Aunt Abbie, that there could be a little girl fairy, about as big as me?”
“Why, yes, I suppose so; if there are fairies at all. But I’m not sure that there are.”
“Would you believe it if you saw one?”
“Yes, if I were awake, and sure I was not dreaming.”
Dolly stared at Aunt Abbie, as if fascinated by her words. Then Pinkie might be a fairy, after all!
“You’re a queer child, Dolly,” said Aunt Rachel, looking at the little girl’s perplexed face. “And when you find your fairies, don’t bring them in the house, for there’s no knowing what tricks they may cut up. They’re said to be mischievous little people.”
“Of course they’re little,” argued Dick. “I think you’re mistaken about Cinderella’s godmother, Aunt Abbie. I think she was a little mite of a lady.”
“Perhaps so, Dicky. I’m not much of an authority on fairy lore, I’ll admit.”
And then, somehow, the matter was dropped, and nothing more was said about fairies or their probable size.
But a little later, when the twins were alone in their playroom, Dolly reopened the subject.
“Dick,” she began, “why do you think fairies must be little?”
“Dolly, what’s the matter with you and your fairies? Why are you bothering so much about ’em all of a sudden?”
“Oh, nothing; I just want to know.”
“It isn’t nothing! Have you been seeing fairies, or what? You’ve got to tell me all about it.”
“I can’t, Dick.”
“You can’t? Why not, I’d like to know! We never have secrets from each other. You know we don’t.”
“But I can’t tell you about this. I promised.”
“Well, unpromise then! Who’d you promise?”
“I can’t tell you that either.”
“Look here, Dolly Dana, who could you promise not to tell me anything? Was it Pat or Michael?”
“Then who was it?”
“I can’t tell you.”
“Pooh, what a silly! Why, Dolly, we’re twins, – we always have to tell each other everything.”
“I know it, Dick, and I want to tell you, awful, but you know yourself it’s wrong to break a promise.”
“Well, you might tell me who you promised it to.”
“That’s part of the secret.”
“Oho, it is a secret, is it? Well, Dolly Dana, if you’ve got a secret from me, you can keep it, —I don’t care!”
This was too much for Dolly’s loyal little twin-heart.
“I don’t want to keep it, Dick; I want to tell you! But I promised her I wouldn’t, so what can I do?”
“Get her to let you off your promise. I s’pose it’s Hannah or Delia.”
“Maybe I can do that,” and Dolly’s face looked a little brighter.
“Well, do; and don’t talk any more about it, till you can tell me all of it, whatever it is. Dolly, it isn’t anything wrong, is it?”
“No; I don’t see how it can be wrong.”
“Then let up on it, till you’re ready to talk square. I never had a secret from you.”
“I know it; and I’ll never have one from you again!”
So peace was restored, and Dolly said no more about fairies. But after she was tucked up in her own little white bed that night, she lay awake in the darkness for a long time, trying to puzzle it all out. One minute it would seem too absurd to think a little girl was a fairy; the next minute, it would seem just as absurd for a little girl to appear in the woods like that, and refuse to tell her name, and insist that their acquaintance be kept a secret! That was exactly what a fairy would do!ñêà÷àòü êíèãó áåñïëàòíî
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